Penn State Alumni Battling YikYak With New App, DormChat
While immensely popular, YikYak’s flaws are certainly no secret, especially at Penn State. With a new app they call a “local Twitter,” two Penn State alumni are seeking to streamline communication and provide an alternative to YikYak at college campuses across the country.
The app, aptly (no pun intended) named DormChat, allows users to post under different topics related to their school in a fashion similar to both YikYak and Twitter. Some of the topics in the area currently include “THON Memories” and “Waffle Shop,” with posters sharing content under usernames. While not completely identifiable, the lack of anonymity adds a step of personalization YikYak doesn’t have.
“At Penn State, there was never an easy, centralized way to communicate,” said Adam Michalski, app co-owner with Doug Holmes. “I saw the same thing when I moved into Hoboken. Every solution for local messaging is either dating-based (Tinder) or flooded with bathroom stall content (Yik Yak). There had to be a better way, so we started building.”
Michalski first introduced the app at Penn State in March, and it’s since expanded to 60 universities, including Arizona State and UCF. While Twitter connects users to what’s happening in the world, says Michalski, DormChat connects them to what’s happening directly around them. And in another upgrade from YikYak, users can post photos, tag, and direct message other users. Similar to YikYak, the chats are geologically based.
Michalski credits much of his idea for the app to his Penn State experience.
“The education I received gave me the skills I needed to jump into the NYC Tech scene headfirst and continue building on the solid foundation I got from Smeal,” he said. “Secondly, had it not been for experiencing the issue of no centralized way to communicate on mobile at PSU, I likely would never have started a company focused on this pain point. I owe it all to State and the ability to give back in anyway at all makes this all worth it.”
In the THON spirit, the app currently has a thread called “THON Games” in which users can post their THON total predictions down to the penny, and for every post in the thread, DormChat will donate $1 up to $500 to THON. Whoever is closest gets a dinner on Michalski and Holmes (and you can even invite them if you want!).
You can download DormChat here.